State News

Vermont ranks second in the U.S. for senior health

By Erin Mansfield,

A national research foundation has ranked Vermont second in the nation for keeping senior citizens healthy in 2016.

This is the fourth year in a row that the United Health Foundation’s “America’s Health Rankings” placed Vermont in the top five states for senior health. In 2016, the study ranked Massachusetts first and New Hampshire third, according to the Association for Health Care Journalists.

Vermont’s strengths in keeping senior citizens healthy are a low prevalence of smoking, a high enrollment in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or food stamps, and an overall high health status, according to the report.

Vermont’s weaknesses for keeping senior citizens healthy include a low use of hospice care, a high prevalence of falling down, and a high prevalence of “excessive drinking,” according to the report.

Here are some other statistics cited in the report:

  • A decrease in the senior citizen smoking rate in the past year
  • An increase in food insecurity in the past year
  • A decrease in the number of hospitalizations for hip fractures in the past year
  • An increase in the need for geriatric doctors in the past two years
  • An increase in hospice care use in the past three years.

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